Friday, December 27, 2013

Lord, Save us from ourselves

I found this rant in my drafts. I typed it back in July. Guess this New Year resolution has actually been weighing on me for a while!

I never intended for this blog to become a ministry and I'm not sure that is what God wants from me, but this is an outlet where I can express what is on my mind and on my heart.  Lately it's been on my heart that I'm a crappy Christian.  I say this because it's something I'm well aware of and something I want to do something about.  Did you know that early Christians didn't give themselves the name 'Christian', non-believers gave them the name because it was obvious who was a follower of Christ by their actions.  In America today lots of people call themselves 'Christian' but don't walk in a lifestyle that is conducive to what they say.  This HAS to change folks and I'm going to start with me because I can't change anyone else.  I want to be the example for Princess and anyone else watching me.  Proverbs 22:6 says 'Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.'  There is still hope for us and for our children!
I've been searching lately for a good place to start.  I'm realistic in thinking that my whole world isn't going to change and all my old habits aren't going to change overnight.  I have to take this one step at a time.  I've watched lots of video of sermons and series on Christian lifestyle.  I am reading books written by Christian authors directed at people who want to do the right thing.  I really need to pick a place in the bible and just start reading!
Recently I found a film on Netflix called 'Lord, Save Us from Your Followers'.  I almost didn't watch it because it sounded scary to me.  I'm very glad I did.  In it filmmaker Dan Merchant is trying to open a dialog between believers and non-believers.  He did this in a very tasteful, very realistic way.  I am inspired to see that there are those out there who not only call themselves 'Christian' but SHOW it too. 
The big ticket issues in this country will always be there.  There will always be people who disagree.  So many times non-believers associate Christians with hate.  That is unacceptable.  There are large groups who call themselves Christian and only give threats of Hell and eternal damnation.  God tells us explicitly to love our neighbors.  We need to stop letting those who preach hate represent us and start showing God's love.  We should be volunteering our time, donating our money or possessions or talents not passing judgment and saying ugly things about people.
This isn't home.  The bible tells us to store up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).  We get those treasures by doing good deeds and winning souls for the glory of God while we are on earth.  Stop sitting there being so comfortable working toward your 'American Dream'.  God didn't promise comfort.  God promised that there would be those opposed to us because of Him.  He tells us to give up things of this world because it doesn't matter unless we are following Him.  I don't know that we are all called to give away everything we own and become missionaries, but we should be doing more.  Praying 'Thank you, God, for all the blessings in my life' then hoarding said blessings and not passing them along to bless other people is the opposite of what God wants.  We should be volunteering, we should be giving (and not just the old clothing in the back of the closet we never wear anymore). We should be LOVING God's people.  Guess what, folks, 'God's People' doesn't just mean the people you like or can tolerate well.  We are ALL God's people.  The lady next to you at church, the annoying neighbor, the murders, and your family members who drive you crazy.  Love, love, love.  That is what God says.  Love. Period.
There will always be people we don't agree with.  There will always be people who are opposed to us.  The problem is that the folks representing Christians in the media are doing it in a hateful way.  Screaming at people and telling them they are going to hell isn't going to win people to
Disclaimer:  In all places I typed 'we', you can insert 'I'.  I am guilty of all of this.  These posts are a reminder to myself more than anything. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas and New Years Resolutions

So it's December 26th and I've already taken the tree down and put away all the Christmas decorations.  I don't put that stuff up until December 1st and it comes right back down on Christmas day evening.  I'm relieved to have another Christmas behind us.  This year I have been thinking more about the true meaning of Christmas, though.  Ya know, the Mass of Christ.  Baby Jesus born, celebrating our Savior's entrance into this world.  We all get so busy trying to make sure we see this family and get gifts for these friends that we forget.  It's easy to do, I'm not criticizing, I'm as bad as anyone.  A couple things happened this holiday season that have kind of shocked me into making a resolution that doesn't have anything to do with weight or money.  Starting today and continuing throughout 2014 I want to get closer to Jesus.  I want to walk more in line with Him.  I want to figure out what God has planned for me.  I plan to spend more time in His Word and I want to commit to listening to the Christian radio stations.  I want to read some of the devotionals and Christian books I have stacked next to the bead.  I want to focus on God and stop letting life distract me.  I want to be an example for my family, my husband and daughter, but also to everyone around me.  Do you know that it wasn't early followers of Christ who coined the word 'Christian'.  It was in Antioch that people noticed the apostles and followers were different because they followed the Christ and called them Christians. (Acts 11)  I want people to look at me and know that I am a Christian because I follow the teachings of the Christ.  I don't want to say that I'm a Christian then lead a life that says otherwise anymore.

The things that got me thinking most about this are this: 1) The church I frequent more than any other didn't have a Wednesday evening service.  Wednesday.  December 25.  No service on Christmas Day?  The church took the day off on the day we celebrate Jesus' birth so we could spend time with our families.  Now please know that I probably wouldn't have been in attendance if they had had service, but this isn't very different than most weeks and this is something I will be working on.  I'm not upset because I had so looked forward to the service, it just shocked me that there wouldn't be a service for me to skip.

Thing number 2)  A friend of mine goes to a non-denom mega church in a nearby city.  Actually several of my Facebook friends attend this church so I've seen lots of stuff about their big Christmas celebration.  This friend sent me a link to the video of the service.  I'm about halfway through now and I'm not sure if I want to finish.  Don't get me wrong.  This is very entertaining.  There is no doubt that the staff is full of extremely talented folks.  The thing that bothers me about it is this:  I'm not sure what laser shows about Santa have to do with the celebration of the birth of our Savior.  I understand the church evolving to keep the interest of the congregation.  It's a very good thing to get lots of people from all walks of life together to praise our God.  There is power in numbers, even the bible tells us that. 'For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them' -Jesus (Matthew 18:20)

So my question is this:  When do we cross the line of evolving to reach the people and focusing more on what people want than what the Bible says?

Disclaimer:  I hope I don't come off as judgey.  I can't cast any stones.  I'm just a girl who wants to know what Jesus thinks of us.  Then again, maybe I don't want to know what he thinks of me right now...

Saturday, December 7, 2013


For some reason I struggle with accountability.   Recently I joined Weight Watchers and only gained weight.  I was on that program once before and had good results for a short time then ended up gaining some of the weight back while still on the program.  I believe this is a good program, it just isn't working for me.  I have tried to be accountable to a friend and to my husband.  I really don't respond well to having my husband as my accountability partner.  I just get defensive when he asks me about my workout habits for my food choices and I don't want that causing problems in my marriage.  I have a couple friends who make good accountability partners, until we all fall off the wagon together.  Why is this such a struggle for me?  Why do I have this mental trigger?  I fight back rather than use it as a tool.  When I see a cop checking traveler's speed, I slow down.  When I know the boss will be in town, I try harder to get to work on time.  When my bank account balance is low, I slow down my spending.  Why can't I apply this same logic to healthy living?

I'm reading a book by Lysa Terkeurst called 'Made to Crave: Satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food'.  (Review to come later).  I want to learn from this book because it is a genius concept.  God created us to crave Him, desire Him, rely on Him, yet somehow the enemy has used this to his will and moved my focus to an unhealthy lifestyle.  I eat to much, I drink to much, I don't exercise enough. I need to see when the devil is trying to manipulate me and use that as a trigger to pray and not do something unhealthy.

The book selections I made at the library recently are comical to me.  Well, interesting anyway.  I started reading 'Made to Crave' the same time I started reading 'The Screwtape Letters' by C.S. Lewis.  I didn't see any kind of link between the books when I checked them out.  I wanted a self-help type book and a novel to read for entertainment.  As I started reading them together, I think it was Divine.  The self-help to show me a direction and the novel to show me how the devil is getting into my head.  The enemy doesn't come in the form of a scary guy with a pitchfork and tail, he whispers in your ear and tries to keep you complacent.  If you are comfortable where you are right now, you probably need to move.  I say this to myself more than to anyone. I'm very comfortable in my life right now, I'm comfortable in my jeans that are bigger than they should be.  It's definitely time to move!  Guess it's time to get on my knees and find out where I should be moving too.

Are you having the same struggles?  Do you feel like the enemy is keeping you at a comfortable distance from the path God has for you?